Friday, February 01, 2008

The Green Green Grass

This week taught me something that I think I knew intuitively but had yet to really experience. I had to attend a very long and drawn out computer training class at my office, four almost full-time days. In the weeks leading up to it I was feeling pretty nervous about leaving the boys, mainly worried that my parents, their stand-in caregivers, would be overwhelmed. And then the days before I started to realize that I was going to be the overwhelmed one. I had yet to leave them for more than a few hours at a time and here I was with four days to get through, it started to feel almost scary. I am happy to report the time went well for all, I was trained and am almost proficient in a convoluted computer system that will be the future of healthcare and my boys came through the week fine as did the awesome grandparents. But here is where the grass thing comes in…this week truly illustrated to me the privilege it is that I get to stay home and witness and guide the growth and development of my children.

I always thought I would want to be a SAHM (sorry for the abbreviation) but the reality is that it sometimes sucks and can be so much tougher than one anticipates. But I had nothing to compare my experience to prior to this week, I had always just been home with them. We never entertained the idea of my resuming full time work, figuring we would be fine getting by on our current income. If I did go back to work I could potentially earn enough to make it worthwhile and ease some of the financial strain that occurs with a single income…but now I know it would never be worth it. I could not do it, it was really really hard to come home to their smiling faces at the end of the day and have a few mere hours to spend in their company. It made me feel sad and a little lost, to not be the one mixing up crazy lunch concoctions, struggling to get them down to naps, and rolling willy-nilly on the floor with them during playtime. I kept wanting to go to their room and watch them during the night, just to see them more.
I never truly realized how seamlessly integrated our lives and days and experiences have become until I was not in it. And the relief I felt Thursday, when the training ended and I knew I would be back at home today, well, it welled up and I had to write this. As a reminder to myself that on those hard days, those rough, run-away days, well, I am on the greener grass side. I am so lucky to see and shape and be shaped by their lives. We mamas are required to do many things, wear many hats, fill many roles. It is good to know I like mine right now, that they all feel really comfortable, that I am in the skin I want to be. There is no better feeling. Other than the one I get when Owen open-mouth kisses me or Mason points at me and laughs. Yeah, those feeling are pretty good too.

Next up, some knitting to show…I swear.

13 comments:

Lola and Ava said...

Those boys get cuter and cuter by the day. I was a SAHM (hate the whole phrase) until the girls went to kindergarten and there never was a question between Dave and me about it. I just assumed that I would stay at home because whatever I earned would never pay enough to keep two kids in day care. My sister, however, never really entertained the thought of staying home. She drops Gus off at day care even when she isn't working because it is a service she is paying for. Funny thing is, we both have great kids and are super happy about our decisions. Usually people's posts about staying at home or going back to work are so divisive . . . thanks for writing one that wasn't and honest! You don't see that very often.

sweetpea16 said...

I would say if you can handle it financially, stay home now that they're small... once they go to school you can still take up full time or part time work if need be.
The boys are really cute :)

Cheers Eva

Pixiepurls said...

It's so nice to read this, I am having to decide soon how much longer to stay at home.. I can take a year (I need to call HR to confirm though) and I will get my job back, though it could be any place in the company they will hire me back, if you take 6 months you get your same job back and keep your insurance benefits... I'm coming up on 6 months and not sure what to do. I think I should stay home with her, it's just so scarey to truley stop working... it scares me because I've always worked, it's been such a huge part of me, I'm scared I won't be able to get back into the game when I decided to go back. Should I go back after 1 year or stay out longer? it's so hard to make those decision so I've been trying to play it by ear but it just leaves me still feeling unsure of whats happening next, I always like to have a plan.

skhpottery said...

I'm am so lucky that my studio is next door and I can work during naps or have my mother come hang out for a few hours. And I love what I do and really like my time 'away'. But last weekend while my husband was home I was very resentful of the deadline that kept me in the studio instead of in the house playing with my family. Us mothers are so complex in our minds. We're lucky to have such choices.

Grandmere said...

I could have written this entry 35 years ago! I left my job to stay home with my baby at a time when we were supposed to be able to "do it all"...but being away from him and missing all the firsts was more than I could take. Then, as his sisters were added to our family, the time off grew longer. But I have never regretted one moment. I returned to my career, later, and gained even more satisfaction in it. Because I had spent those days home with my kids, I could appreciate my career once again.

Dawn said...

Thank you for sharing this and with such eloquence. No matter how bad a "bad day" has been I've known that staying home with them is what I wanted. Being there for all the "firsts" and each time after has been the greatest joy of my life. I am so grateful to have had the choice. I really identified with how you put it!

Gabrielle said...

It sounds like its been a good experience, just to know that you're not missing much, and to confirm that you've made the right decision for your family. I'm finding part time work a fairly good compromise right now, but of course have regular moments where I worry, and wish I was with him. Last week Thomas was a bit sad when I left, and I was in tears outside - one of his childcare workers came out and gave me a big hug which was just the right thing to do, and she told me how much they care about Thomas - so we muddle through it.
Anyway I LOVED your videos from the last post. Mason laughing hysterically was the most gorgeous thing I've seen!

gleek said...

i know EXACTLY how you feel! that month that i went back to work in august was one of the hardest months ever. i was so broken up everyday, i just knew that staying home with the peanut was the right thing, no matter how hard it would be. i really enjoy being a work at home mom (WAHM!) i still manage to get some work done and care for the nut at the same time. man, my social life and overall physical health have really suffered (i miss the gym terribly!) but it's the best i have ever felt about my "job". ever.

J + T Silverman said...

hey mames,

we LOVE the ergos! i think they are well worth it, and not just for hiking. i use mine for errands almost every day, especially in places that have the single cart. one in the ergo and one in the cart works like a charm. for the most part, we only wear the boys on our backs for hiking and they don't seem to mind a bit. but, we've never had them in frame packs, so i can't give any comparison there. i love how soft and flexible they are, easy for traveling with or folding into your diaper bag, or just sticking in the back of the car. also, it's very versatile in that you can wear your boys on the front, side or back.

let me know if you have any other questions!

did you get the digi SLR and lens yet? what did you decide on? how exciting!

tracey

Sereknitty said...

Such a difficult decision to make ... I'm glad you've figured out what's right for you. Oh my, your little guys are cuter than cute!

sweetpea16 said...

PS: just a little head's up to let you know that I've given you a 'You make my day' award on my blog :)
http://sweetpea16.wordpress.com/2008/02/06/you-yes-you/

Sarah and Jack said...

What a lovely post. Being a SAHM really does bite sometimes, and it is nice to be reminded of what it would be like to be on the other side of the fence.

Sereknitty said...

You've been meme'd! Check out my blog for details. If you don't wish to participate, I won't be offended, but would be delighted if you did!